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Abortion rights supporters demonstrating at hundreds of marches and rallies Saturday expressed their outrage that the Supreme Court appears prepared to scrap the constitutional right to abortion that has endured for nearly a half-century and their fear about what that could mean for women’s reproductive choices.

Incensed after a leaked draft opinion suggested the court’s conservative majority would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, activists spoke of the need to mobilize quickly because Republican-led states are poised to enact tighter restrictions.

In the nation’s capital, thousands gathered in drizzly weather at the Washington Monument to listen to fiery speeches before marching to the Supreme Court, which was surrounded by two layers of security fences.

The mood was one of anger and defiance, three days after the Senate failed to muster enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade.

“I can’t believe that at my age, I’m still having to protest over this,” said Samantha Rivers, a 64-year-old federal government employee who is preparing for a state-by-state battle over abortion rights.

Caitlin Loehr, 34, of Washington, wore a black T-shirt with an image of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “dissent” collar on it and a necklace that spelled out “vote.”

“I think that women should have the right to choose what to do with their bodies and their lives. And I don’t think banning abortion will stop abortion. It just makes it unsafe and can cost a woman her life,” Loehr said.

A half-dozen anti-abortion demonstrators sent out a countering message, with Jonathan Darnel shouting into a microphone, “Abortion is not health care, folks, because pregnancy is not an illness.”

From Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, and Nashville, Tennessee, to Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands participated in events, where chants of “Bans off our bodies!” and “My body, my choice!” rang out. The gatherings were largely peaceful, but in some cities there were tense confrontations between people on opposing sides of the issue.

Polls show that most Americans want to preserve access to abortion — at least in the earlier stages of pregnancy — but the Supreme Court appeared to be poised to let the states have the final say. If that happens, roughly half of states, mostly in the South and Midwest, are expected to quickly ban abortion.


California taxpayers would help pay for abortions for women who can’t afford them under a new spending proposal Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday to prepare for a potential surge of people from other states seeking reproductive care if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

California already pays for some abortions through its Medicaid program, the taxpayer-funded health insurance plan for the poor and the disabled.

But some women don’t qualify for Medicaid and don’t have private health insurance. When that happens, clinics will sometimes perform abortions for free, known as “uncompensated care.” Wednesday, Newsom said he wants the state to give $40 million worth of grants to clinics to help offset those costs.

An abortion can cost between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars in California, depending on how far along the pregnancy is and what kind of insurance a patient has.

“California will not stand idly by as extremists roll back our basic constitutional rights; we’re going to fight like hell, making sure that all women – not just those in California – know that this state continues to recognize and protect their fundamental rights,” Newsom said in a news release.

While the grants could potentially pay for abortions for women from other states, the money would not pay for those women to travel or stay in California.

A bill in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature would set up a fund to help pay for the logistics of getting an abortion in California, including things such as travel, lodging and child care. The California Legislative Women’s Caucus has asked Newsom for $20 million to put into that fund. But Newsom’s announcement on Wednesday did not include that money.


New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has long been outspoken about defending abortion rights, publicly disclosed Tuesday that she had an abortion herself almost two decades ago.

Pregnant as a newly elected New York City Council member, “I chose to have an abortion,” James told protesters who gathered in Manhattan to decry a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the constitutional right to an abortion nationwide.

James, a Democrat, said she makes “no apologies” for her decision.

James, 63, won a City Council race in 2003 to begin her political career, going on to serve as the city’s elected ombudsman, called the public advocate, and then as attorney general since 2018. Last year, she briefly entered the 2022 race for governor before dropping out; she’s now seeking reelection in November.

James has proposed a New York fund to help provide abortions to women who can’t access the procedures in their own states, and she has filed or joined other attorneys general in filing friend-of-the-court briefs arguing against some abortion restrictions in other states.

“We will not go backward,” she told the protesters Tuesday. “No judge of the Supreme Court can dictate to me or to you how to use your body.”


A judge has ruled that one of two Oregon brothers accused in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will be released from custody Friday to a third-party guardian, where he will be on home detention and GPS monitoring pending his trial.

U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss, of the District of Columbia, on Thursday granted Matthew Klein’s pretrial release to a Baker County couple after refusing to allow him to stay with his parents. Moss last week cited text messages that showed Klein’s mother and father warning Matthew’s younger brother and co-defendant Jonathanpeter Klein not to broadcast their roles, noting “braggers get caught,” according to court testimony and documents, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Matthew Klein, 24, and Jonathanpeter Klein, 21, both have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, destruction of government property, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

The judge ordered Matthew Klein to be released to a woman who is retired from Baker County government and lives with her husband, a prison guard at the Powder River Corrections Facility, court documents said. He’ll be released on Friday once he is fitted with a location monitoring device.

Jonathanpeter Klein also has asked for pretrial release to a third-party guardian, under home detention and GPS monitoring. Federal prosecutors don’t object. His release hearing will be held in early June.



Civil liberties groups are asking the Supreme Court to give the public access to opinions of the secretive court that reviews bulk email collection, warrantless internet searches and other government surveillance programs.

The groups say in an appeal filed with the high court Monday that the public has a constitutional right to see significant opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. They also argue that federal courts, not the executive branch, should decide when opinions that potentially affect the privacy of millions of Americans should be made public.

The appeal was filed by Theodore Olson on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Olson is on the Knight institute’s board and was the Bush administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer as the FISA court’s role was expanded after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“You’re talking about judicial decisions here that may affect millions of people. The public needs to know the outlines of what those decisions are and how far they go,” Olson said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Because of my experience with it, I know that government, with the best of intentions, will tend to err on the side of keeping everything secret.”

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was established in 1978 to receive applications from the FBI to eavesdrop on people it suspects of being agents of a foreign power, such as potential spies or terrorists. After Sept. 11, Congress expanded the court’s role to consider broad surveillance programs.

In recent decisions, judges ruled that opinions sought by the groups couldn’t be made public, even in censored form, and that they didn’t even have the authority to consider releasing the opinions.

Legislation adopted in 2015 includes a provision that requires the government to consider releasing significant FISA court opinions. But the law doesn’t apply to opinions written before it was enacted and leaves the review process entirely to the executive branch.

The ACLU and Knight institute say the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press demands greater access.


A far-right extremist in Germany was convicted Thursday and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a regional politician who had advocated helping refugees — a brazen killing that shocked the country.

In its verdict against 47-year-old Stephan Ernst, the Frankfurt state court noted the “particular severity” of the crime, meaning that he will likely not be eligible for release after 15 years as is typical under German law, the dpa news agency reported.

During his trial, Ernst admitted to the June 1, 2019 shooting of Walter Luebcke, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party who led the regional administration in the Kassel area of central Germany — though he gave three different versions of events.

Luebcke was targeted because he had been outspoken in favor of helping refugees. Prosecutors said Ernst had attended a 2015 town hall event where the politician had defended the German government’s decision to allow hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers into the country.

The court found that Ernst “projected xenophobia onto Dr. Luebcke.”

Ernst shot Luebcke on the politician’s porch and he died hours later.

The German government warned after the Luebcke killing and other attacks — including one on a synagogue on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day, in October 2019 — that far-right extremism posed a significant security threat in the country.

An accomplice who prosecutors alleged was with Ernst at the scene of the crime, identified only as Markus H. due to German privacy laws, was convicted of weapons violations and sentenced to 18 months probation.

H. had been charged with being an accessory to murder, but his attorney argued he wasn’t involved and he was only found guilty of the lesser charge.

Ernst was cleared of separate charges of stabbing and seriously wounding an Iraqi refugee in 2016. Presiding Judge Thomas Sagebiel said there are circumstances that point to him as the perpetrator, “but no sustainable evidence.”

“Today’s verdict encourages me and at the same time is a reminder to us all — we will not let our country be destroyed by right-wing terrorists and their intellectual instigators,” said Armin Laschet, the leader of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party.

Laschet said that “the slaying of Walter Luebcke was not just an abhorrent, inhuman crime against an individual, but an attack on us all.” He added that it’s important to stand behind other local politicians who are exposed to “personal hostility.”


A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a former lawyer who reported on the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak to four years in prison on charges of “picking fights and provoking trouble,” one of her lawyers said.

The Pudong New Area People’s Court in the financial hub of Shanghai gave the sentence to Zhang Zhan following accusations she spread false information, gave interviews to foreign media, disrupted public order and “maliciously manipulated” the outbreak.

Lawyer Zhang Keke confirmed the sentence but said it was “inconvenient” to provide details — usually an indication that the court has issued a partial gag order. He said the court did not ask Zhang whether she would appeal, nor did she indicate whether she would.

Zhang, 37, traveled to Wuhan in February and posted on various social media platforms about the outbreak that is believed to have emerged in the central Chinese city late last year.

She was arrested in May amid tough nationwide measures aimed at curbing the outbreak and heavy censorship to deflect criticism of the government’s initial response. Zhang reportedly went on a prolonged hunger strike while in detention, prompting authorities to forcibly feed her, and is said to be in poor health.

China has been accused of covering up the initial outbreak and delaying the release of crucial information, allowing the virus to spread and contributing to the pandemic that has sickened more than 80 million people worldwide and killed almost 1.8 million. Beijing vigorously denies the accusations, saying it took swift action that bought time for the rest of the world to prepare.

China’s ruling Communist Party tightly controls the media and seeks to block dissemination of information it hasn’t approved for release. In the early days of the outbreak, authorities reprimanded several Wuhan doctors for “rumor-mongering” after they alerted friends on social media. The best known of the doctors, Li Wenliang, later succumbed to COVID-19.

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